For someone living with #depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment & recovery. ~Tweet by WHO.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Depression, as an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. It is surprising to note that depression is the leading cause of ill – health and disability worldwide.
While there is a perception that feeble minded people suffer from depression and anxiety, it is not so. Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody, at any age, or in any place. People with depression normally have a loss of energy, change in appetite, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated.
Here, I present a guest post on this topic written by Sarbani Chowdhury, a Clinical Psychologist with the Indian Air Force. Read on what Sarbani says about depression…
Depression is curable
“DEPRESSION LET’S TALK”-That was the theme for this years’ world health day as declared by the World Health Organization. In October 2016, WHO had launched a one-year global campaign on depression with the goal that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I couldn’t have agreed more with the theme. We really do not realise how badly people need a release. It is my privilege to help people explore their inner world, their psychological terrain. Peoples’ emotions, thoughts and feelings – this is my data. This data helps me to better understand – what is it that emotionally paralyses human beings? We, as a society, really have no idea how suffocated people are in their emotions. Most people have nobody to express themselves entirely to. Everyone is holding back their vulnerabilities to maintain the social image of a confident and happy person. We have WhatsApp and facetime and social media – and we have stress and anxiety and depression.
Our forefathers had neither. Because they talked to each other. Because talking helps.
Stigma around depression is due to ignorance
Stigma in our society around depression is very real. Unfortunately, we live in a society where when you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign on your cast but if you tell people you are depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma! We are so accepting of any part of our body breaking down other than our brain.
That is pure ignorance and that ignorance has created the world that does not understand depression, does not understand mental health. There is a tremendous amount of shame and guilt associated with the problem. The disapproving look on a friend’s face, whispers around you, so one holds it in and hides it even though it is keeping you in bed every day, making your life empty no matter how hard you try.
Even today, there is a tremendous amount of shame and guilt, a disapproving look on a friend’s face, whispers that you are weak, associated with any ailment involving the brain that the person can’t even share his or her problem in our country. They usually put on the mask of happiness and carry the heavy load on their heads. The idea that a person has lost mental balance “DIMAAG KHARAAB HO GAYA HAI,” is looked down upon as if it’s a weakness to have depression. The person suffering, as well as the family members, are not willing to understand, just as we are not in total control of our heart, pancreas or kidneys, similarly we are not in control of our brain.
And so, the problem keeps getting perpetuated but the strength actually lies in owning up the problem and seeking help. It is transformative and optimising your lifestyle and your mind and achieve full potential.
If you think you have depression, seek help
Here’s some practical advice on what to do if you think you have depression. I am sharing the following recommendations from the WHO site:
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Most people feel better after talking to someone who cares about them.
- Seek professional help. Your local doctor or psychologist is a good place to start.
- Keep up with activities that you used to enjoy when you were well.
- Stay connected. Keep in contact with family and friends.
- Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a short walk.
- Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits.
- Accept that you might have depression and adjust your expectations. You may not be able to accomplish as much as you do usually.
- Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and refrain from using illicit drugs; they can worsen depression.
- If you feel suicidal, contact someone for help immediately.
Let’s talk without any fear. Let’s create conversations. Let’s start talking again.
Image credit: WHO site (http://who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017)
Hey! Say what you want to. Please Like, Share and/or drop in a Comment below! 🙂